Online Writing Activities

Download the Online Writing Activities Assignment Guidelines (.pdf)

Due, Week 8- (Reading Responses): Thursdays by 10:00 PM (Oct. 16 – Dec. 4)

Due, Week 8- (Community Responses): Sundays by 10:00 PM (Oct. 19 – Dec. 7)

Due, through Week 7 (Reading Responses): Wednesdays by 10:00 PM (Sept. 3 – Dec. 3)

Due, through Week 7 (Community Responses): Saturdays by 10:00 PM (Sept. 6 – Dec. 6)

General Assignment

During weeks 2-15 (Sept. 1 – Dec. 6), you will be expected to post 11 12 weekly reading response to your course blog and 10 12 weekly responses to your classmates reading responses for a total of two blog posts per week. Initial blog posts, which are due each Thursday Wednesday by 10:00 PM, will be your Reading Response post. Your second blog post, which will be due each Sunday Saturday by 10:00 PM, will be your Community Response post.1

See below for information on setting up your course blog, including issues of blogging under a pseudonymous identity.

General Requirements

Keeping in mind that this is a 500-level writing-intensive course, all posts need to be thoughtful and detailed. All posts should make direct reference to the reading(s) showing evidence that the author has engaged critically with the material.

  • For Reading Response posts, this means citing passages from the assigned texts for the week. A Reading Response post must be between 350-500 words (the equivalent of 1.5 to 2 double-spaced pages).
  • For Community Response posts, this means citing (and linking) to the blog posts to which you are responding and the assigned texts for the week. A Community Response post must be between 150-250 words (the equivalent of .5 to 1 double-spaced page).
Reading Response Post Requirements

Each week you should post a response to one or more of the assigned texts for the week. These responses can be argumentative, philosophical, analytic, or what you feel is appropriate. I encourage you to take an essayistic approach to your blogging.2 This does not mean that anything goes, but, rather that you be comfortable with exploring an idea without needing to knowing the answer or feeling the need to provide a totalizing final statement.

Usually the topic of a Reading Response post will be your choice, but sometimes I may want us all to focus on one reading, or ask different clusters of students to focus on separate readings.

At the end of your post, include a link to an outside source – one you think relates to the topic and/or would be good for class discussion.

Community Response Post Requirements

I’ve divided the class up into four groups based (see the Blogroll page), and each week you will be assigned to read all the blogs from one of these groups. (For instance, during Week 2, all members of Group 1 will read the blogs of Group 2, members of Group 2 will read the blogs of Group 3, etc. In Week 3, I’ll assign each of you readings from a different group.)

As you read the blogs, look for ways to bring one or more posts into conversation with each other and with you – look for connections, points of difference, statements or questions that spark new ideas and new insights for you. Again, these posts need not solve anything or make a final statement. The goal is to engage in dialogue and exploration. In short, you are writing a synthesis response. For more information on writing a synthesis, see this introduction to syntheses.

When referring to other class members, please respect other students’ desires to use pseudonyms and use the name under which they blog. For instance, if you know DigitalPoet is actually class member John Doe, please refer to that student in your blog posts as DigitalPoet.

Please provide links to the blog posts to which you are responding and let the author(s) know you’ve responded to their post by leaving a brief comment with a link to your response.

4The blog post is focused and coherently integrates examples with explanations or analysis. The post demonstrates awareness of its own limitations or implications, and it considers multiple perspectives when appropriate. The post includes at least one rhetorically useful resource (link to source, image, or media clip) that illustrates—rather than trivializes—its point.
3The blog post is reasonably focused, and explanations or analysis are mostly based on examples or other evidence. Fewer connections are made between ideas, and though new insights are offered, they are not fully developed. The post reflects moderate engagement with the topic.
2The blog post is mostly description or summary, without consideration of alternative perspectives, and few connections are made between ideas. The entry reflects passing engagement with the topic.
1The blog post is unfocused, or simply rehashes previous comments, and displays no evidence of student engagement with the topic.
0No Credit. The blog post is missing, late, or consists of one or two disconnected sentences.

This rubric is based upon the one used by Mark Sample.

A Note on Creating Course Blogs

Even if you have an existing blog, you should make a new blog for this course using either WordPress or Blogger. Both sites will host blogs for free. You can name your blog whatever you wish as long as it is classroom-appropriate. Likewise, you can use whatever username you wish as well. You need not use your real name. While you will send me the URL for your blog so I will know who you are, you can blog under the name of SallyT or DigitalPoet or whatever strikes your fancy.

If you’re not familiar with blogs, you might want to check out Common Craft’s “Blogs in Plain English” (2 min. 42 sec video).

  1. Beginning Week 8, we’ve changed the due dates for Reading Responses to Thursday and Community Responses to Sunday. Also, because of Fall Break, there is no required Community Response during Week 8.
  2. Our word “essay” comes from the French essayer, meaning “to try” or “to attempt.” The essay, as a genre and as a term, originated with Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) who described his attempts to explore ideas as essais.

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